With a 43 force structure that hinders their progress, Steve White, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, outlines the need for the College of Policing to ensure it has buy-in at all levels to help meet its aims and objectives.
The comments follow the release of a Home Affairs Committee report, ‘College of Policing: Three years on’.
Steve White said: "The College of Policing play an important role in setting standards throughout the service, not just behaviourally, but for recruitment, training, procurement and more. And they don’t have an easy task. They are a national body overseeing something that isn’t a national organisation. Our current structure of 43 forces does nothing to help the College in their difficult task to promote and ensure consistency.
"The committee recognise that in a time when UK policing has to deliver far more for far less it has to have better buy-in at all levels, our members included, to make change happen, change that will deliver better value for money and improved consistency.
"It’s encouraging to see that this report supports our concerns that I raised with the Home Affairs Select Committee around degree-level entry for new officers. Whilst efforts to professionalise the service indeed have merit, we know forces are not sufficiently representative of the communities they serve and it’s difficult to see how this proposal will help address this.
"We have a hugely talented workforce with a raft of skills and knowledge, all of which can and do benefit the service. It’s important that this skill base is encouraged and empowered to help overcome on-going and developing issues and not overlooked by an overbearing desire to attract new recruits to act as a solution.
"The public rightly expect the same level of service, with officers trained to the same standards, wherever they are in England and Wales. The College must be the leaders of promoting and enforcing this consistency, helping maintain a police service that is revered across the world."